Late nights…

I do my best work at night. Last night went until 2:30am, an exploration of dozens of gift shops for my Gift Shop magazine feature. I’m amazed at the creativity of these gift shop owners! One told me about his movable walls, 6’x8′ walls on wheels that allow them to keep redesigning the foot traffic in the store, and how they re-paint the walls for their special events. Their 9000-member mailing list and VIP parties with hors d’eouvres and wine. Another told me about how they’re having the guitarist who trained Carlos Santana to play come and speak and sign books for their VIP party. And Apple is doing a media blast for them. Another wine shop busses people to local wineries for tastings. A feng shui shop has authors come in for signings. What I loved beyond the sensory imaginings of these events is the enthusiasm of the owners’ voices, their pride in their creations, their marketing genius. I love people like this, the ones that inspiration moves through. I’m thrilled to be in Gift Shop magazine’s stable of writers, because this is only the beginning of the amazing people across the country whose life’s work is going to reach millions. Their ideas move through me to inspire others, and maybe some small gift shop owner who invested everything she had in a unique idea — perhaps something the bank said no on a loan to — will see how it’s done and put together an event that puts her on the map, changes her life forever. This is why I write…to shine a light on the best things going on out there and maybe flick a switch for someone who has taken the risk to leap on faith.

And then there’s my article for ResortsandLodges.com about pre-honeymoons. I’m trying to spark a trend to get wedding planning couples to take a weekend away and reconnect, not lose themselves in the details and dramas of planning that one big day. I found a couple who flew to New Zealand to ‘get away from it all,’ and another who went to a bed and breakfast, one couple who dropped everything and jumped in the car with a plan to buy clothes when they wind up wherever they’re going. I hope this trend catches on, because a weekend away could be the banishment of Bridezilla, a return to engagement bliss, a focus on the relationship. This article was fun to write and I just turned it in. Taking a breather now for an ice pop, a giggle about a phone ring tone (I can’t believe you remembered, Joe!), and then I dig into another article that’s due this week. Just want my weekend cleared…so I can focus on what’s really important.

And a quick thank you to the wonderful ASJA folks who suggested their favorite gift shops. I’m amazed sometimes at the generosity of spirit out there. I’m seeing so much of it…

Hoping for rain to clear out this pollen but am also eager for a clear night sky. Just bought a telescope, another snapshot of mine…want to see the Seven Sisters, which reminds me of my grandmother and her six sisters whenever I see it. There’s nothing on earth like the sky in the desert of Arizona. It’s the most inspiring thing…while the sky in NJ can’t compare, it’s still going to be a snapshot come true when I’m on a hilltop under the night stars…I still remember our family trips to Sunny Hill Farm in NY, a golf resort like Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing. I remember how the night sky was just unreal. I remember the dance parties and bingo night, the men playing poker and pyramid piling of Bud cans, catching sunnies and catfish in the pond with corn kernels and rolled up bread as bait, rowing the boat with my Dad, the way they’d ring the bell for dinnertime and everyone would go running down the hill. Dad’s spoon game. How good the oatmeal was there, and the birthday party we gave to our waitress. But most of all, those night stars…

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